Ladies’ Victorian/Edwardian Boots: Lace-Ups and Spring Heels

We are so excited to share our Beloved Boots collection, featuring three splendid lace-up styles based on the boots of days past. (We would say “It’s that time of year again” — but who are we kidding? Boot season is all year round!)

Two of the styles in this collection are directly inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian eras. That would be our new cotton twill and leather Anne boot as well as our signature Paris Boots in four gorgeous new shades. Both of these styles are accurate to the period beginning about 1880 well into the twentieth century. And here at American Duchess, instead of just telling you that our designs are historically accurate, we like to show you! So without further ado, let’s have a gander at some of the styles of antique Victorian and Edwardian lace-up boots that Anne and Paris are based on.



You know them, you love them, so let’s begin with Paris! We released our first Paris boot in 2021, and they were received so well that they’ve become one of our best-selling styles. The design for these boots was based on an antique original that was sent to us by a follower. It took years to develop the perfect heel shape and the right balance, but in the end we successfully produced our first all-day-every-day lace-up boot.


The original Paris boot sent to us by a follower.


If you’re a fan of Victorian fashion, then you may know that boots that fastened with buttons, like our leather Renoir boots and leather Tavistock boots, were supremely popular. But a look through any late-nineteenth century department store catalog will also reveal a mix of button boots and lace-ups for ladies! Like these antique originals, Paris is entirely leather and features an attractive 1.6 inch / 4 cm Cuban heel.


Scan from a 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue showing a mix of fashionable button and lace-up leather boots.

If you’re in the market for flats — don’t worry, this collection still has you covered!

Our new Anne boots feature a 0.5″/1.27 cm heel. You may be asking, “But how can a flat boot be historically accurate for the late Victorian and Edwardian period? Didn’t all women wear high heels all the time?” Well, although heels of over an inch were mostly the norm, flat boots did indeed exist — and we can prove it!

Anne stands upon a low broad “spring heel,” which, in the late nineteenth century, was commonly used for children’s shoes due to their practicality. The example below, scanned from an 1886 Bloomingdale’s Catalogue, shows a spring-heeled leather button boot designed for children. All the way at the bottom of the ad, you can see that the same style was available in Misses’ (or young ladies’) sizing for seventy-five cents more.


Scan from a 1886 Bloomingdale’s Catalogue

The two leather boot designs shown below, scanned from an 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue, also show spring heels. This time, the styles are explicitly labeled as being in Misses’ and Children’s sizes, so they were certainly designed with adolescents in mind in addition to little ones. Notice how the design on the right shares a number of similarities with our new Anne boots. Not only are they both a lace-up boot with a spring heel, but they also share a double-stitched toe-cap!


Scan from a 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue

Thus far, we’ve only shown examples of spring heels on boots designed for children and adolescents — but they were produced for adult women too! As you can see below, Sears advertised a lace-up spring heel boot for ladies that is also extremely similar in design to our new Anne boot. However, these boots would have been a more comfortable alternative to the fashionable high heels of the day. You may notice that the copy written for this 1897 spring-heeled style reads: “With the exception of the heel it is made after the same style as our finest shoes.”


Scan from a 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue

However, we love that these Anne boots are partially inspired by Victorian and Edwardian youth fashion! After all, their namesake is none other than eleven-year-old Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery and first published in 1908. We hope that while wearing your versatile Anne boots, you’ll imagine visiting Anne and her friends in Avonlea!


Plate facing p. 112 of the first edition of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, 1908

Our Beloved Boots collection is on sale for $20/€20 off each pair from December 8-22 in our US and UK/EU stores. Purchasing your favorite style during the pre-order period not only saves money, but it is the best way to ensure you get your correct size and preferred color, as colors and sizes are capped after the pre-order sale ends!



Pre-Order is Open
December 8-22, 2023
$20/€20 Discount Per Pair
AmericanDuchess.com

3 Comments

  • Leanne

    December 19, 2023 at 8:54 PM

    What *is* a spring heel, though? Is there a metal coil inside? Does softer material give it natural “bounce”? Or is it the season in which that style was meant to be worn?
    I ask here because my searches have only returned modern novelty shoes or stories about Spring-heeled Jack…

    Reply
  • Billie Jo Sims

    December 19, 2023 at 9:40 PM

    Re: the follower’s photo of the actual vintage boot

    I’d like to know about the beautifully shaped sole and heel. All my really old shoes and boots have that particular curved arch and foot shape that seems to make the shoes so much more comfortable for daily wear.

    Is there not a way to reproduce that feature in modern shoe factories?

    I’ve always wondered about this –

    Thank you

    Reply

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